Welcome To The Family, Davante
Pro Bowl wide receiver Davante Adams talks about wanting to be part of the Jordan Brand family for his entire life, and how he’s just getting started.
Growing up in East Palo Alto, California, Davante Adams made a plan at a young age. That plan centered around one goal — giving everything he had to the game of football without letting any obstacles get in his way. It included putting in work off the grid iron, too, like developing his footwork, speed, style and leadership on the basketball court and doing what it took in the classroom to go as far his passion would take him.
While the game has since taken him far, when Davante was coming out of high school, the only destination was just a few hours away — at Fresno State. Pro Bowl players don’t typically have a track record that includes just two Division 1 offers. As Davante tells it, he’s been doubted since the day he was born, so as long as he had one offer, that’s all he needed to continue the plan.
He was right, and the plan continued to work. At Fresno State, he was named Mountain West Conference Freshman of the year and First-team all-conference in every season he played. He was also awarded the Paul Warfield Trophy as the nation’s top collegiate receiver.
The next stop was Green Bay, and once he arrived, it was time for the next phase of his plan — becoming one of the top receivers in the game and playing his way onto the roster that inspired him throughout his entire life, Jordan Brand. Growing up, Davante knew he wanted to be more than a collector of Air Jordans; he wanted to be part of the Jumpman family, and he knew he needed to earn it. Three consecutive Pro Bowls later, and the plan is still working. Welcome to the family, Davante.
As a lifelong Jordan fan, what was going through your mind when you got the call about joining the family?
Pure excitement, man. It was a long time coming. It’s something that I’ve always dreamt about, especially with how exclusive it is. It’s the number one shoe brand I’ve been attracted to my whole life. My cousin worked at Foot Locker, and I could never get Jordans until we got his discount.
It was something I always thought about. I wanted to be part of Jordan Brand, because I saw Randy Moss, my favorite receiver, wearing Jordans when I was younger. I wanted to do everything like Randy. The next part was getting to the Nike family. Everything ended up working out well. Now, we made the dream come true.
There’s a different swagger that Jordan Brand athletes have. How do you describe that?
I feel like they recruit athletes that have a natural swagger. There’s only a select number of Jordan Brand guys throughout the league, so you feel a special sense of responsibility with how you carry yourself on and off the field — from the swagger in your play to the drip you wear.
Jordan Brand has a deep roster of some of the world’s best athletes. Who are some of your favorites?
I’d say Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook. People have compared my game to Westbrook a lot, the quickness and aggression. He’s also been pretty innovative with the shoes he designs. I’m big on paying homage to the guys who have done it right before me. I look up to a lot of the OGs in the basketball game, because basketball was my first love. Basketball players have had a lot of influence on my game and my style, too.
Since you grew up playing basketball at a high level, what parts of the game have translated to the field for you?
It’s a little bit of everything but mainly my style of play. My style is all about getting off the spot, a lot of changes in direction and sticking my feet in the ground.
The Jumpman has grown to mean so much more than just basketball. It now represents greatness in sports and beyond. What does it mean to you?
It’s a lifestyle, really. It encompasses a kind of personality. The Js you wear tell me a lot. Or how you design your cleats; that says a lot, too. I look around and can always tell which guys are legit Jordan guys. It’s about your personal touch.
“Everything changes when you put on Jordans.”
Speaking of personal touches, are you looking forward to making PE cleats?
I had the opportunity to design mine today on campus. I wanted to make sure that I made mine look like me. You have to find a way to incorporate yourself into the product.
Jordan cleats are the best-looking and best-feeling cleats. It’s a no-brainer, since comfort is such an important part of my game. If you look good or feel good, you play good. Everything changes when you put on Jordans.
The Bay Area is a diverse place and home to a big sneakerhead community. How did growing up there influence your style and love of Air Jordans?
That’s where it started. I would see a lot of my family members wearing them. You see people walking around with Jordans after every release, because it’s that serious. I wore Jordans to my junior prom. I was in a tuxedo with Jordans on.
A few years ago, you were moving, and you posted images of a huge collection, probably around 50 pairs at the time. How big is it now?
Well, it’s more than 50. It’s a couple hundred. I have a lot of shoes now, and it’s only going to get worse now, or better, I guess you could say. [Laughs] I have two different houses. So I have my Green Bay shipment, and I have my shoes in Cali, too.
Are you getting your daughter started early on the sneaker game?
Oh yeah. She has plenty of shoes. She has everything from Jordan sneakers to sandals. She can’t even walk yet, but she’s definitely already suited and booted.
What are some of your favorite pairs?
My favorite Air Jordan ever is the “Space Jam” AJ11 with the 23. After that, probably the AJ1. I also like the AJ10, which is what we’re wearing this year for the cleats. That’s going to be awesome, because it’s one of my favorite pairs.
Do you remember your first pair of Air Jordans or maybe the most memorable ones from your childhood?
It would be the white and red AJ14s, the “Candy Canes.” That’s my earliest memory. I literally had one shoe that was a size seven, and the other was a seven and a half. I refused to take them back to the store, because I didn’t want to run the risk of them not having more. I just kept one seven and one seven and a half and rocked them.
What are some recent Air Jordans that you really like?
The AJIs. I really like the Pine Greens. I have a couple pairs of those, actually.
What is your favorite MJ moment?
My favorite story ever is when MJ had his eyes closed at the free throw line. He did that in the game. It’s one thing to have the confidence to do it, but then to make it? That cemented him, in my eyes, as the greatest ever. That was the moment where I was like, “This man is on a different level.”
How have you seen sports unite people throughout your life and career, so far?
Being from where I’m from, there was a lot of meaningless stuff that would take place. Sports were really the biggest outlet. Even people who didn’t get along could go to a hoop court or football field, and a lot of those troubles would go away. At a young age, I used sports as a platform to get me where I wanted to be in life.
How does it feel to be one of the young faces that’s part of the next generation of great Jordan Brand athletes?
It’s awesome, man. It’s a huge blessing. I definitely don’t take it for granted. It’s something that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time now. To see it finally come into fruition, it’s a dream come true. To know that MJ was part of the approval process means the world to me.